Monthly Archives: July 2010

What’s goin’ on

So enough with the crabbing already… what IS going on in the burrow?   Here is a list in no particular order

Tall spikes of liatris dominate the back 40, butterflies are happy :)

.Day lilies are  a riot of color everywhere

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.The trumpet vines are drop dead gorgeous and covered in every pollinator imaginable(esp. hummingbirds)  from now until frost. They are a plant that requires ALOT of pruning and weeding out when they try to spread , but I love them so am willing to do what it takes to have them behave in the garden.

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Annuals steal the show in most areas of the garden, I was never a real fan before, but in the past few years have added more and more for sheer bloom power and continuity

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………………………………………..Bacopa, snapdragons and amaranth  (above)

One of my favorite containers, more petunias, and cosmos.

Some of the other annuals I have added to the gardens are;

nicotiana(flowering tobacco below), guara (not quite hardy here), nasturtiums, dahlias, sweet peas,and sunflowers.

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.The sunflower to the right was knocked over by a storm and the stem broke almost clean through. The

piece keeping it alive is about 1/8th of an inch thick, yet it is about to bloom. Tells you all you need to know about the willingness of plants to survive, even thrive in lass than optimal conditions, It also takes the fear out of gardening a little doesn’t it?   Check out how I match my container flowers to the patio chair cushions , nerdy, nerdy nerdy. Do you do that? admit it…we all can get a little weird out in the heat of summer gardening. The last picture is an adorable little fungus that sprung up in the side of a pot of sedum and sempervivum. It looks like those “living stone” plants. It was cool till it died.                                                                  .

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.At the end of the summer I will go out and collect seeds from the sunflowers(although I leave most for the birds), the sweet peas (wait until the pods are dry and brown), the snapdragons,  the amaranth and the cosmos. The petunias will self seed , just make sure not to weed them out in the spring.

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If you are interested in an easy way to spruce up the garden in late summer and early fall some annual vines that are fun to try and really easy to grow are the beautiful hyacinth bean with it’s gorgeous purple leaves and flowers and even more spectacular bright purple pods, bottle gourds that you can dry to make birdhouses, and black eyed susan vine, which here does not bloom until August when started from seed outdoors but is splendid for the two months of flowers in fall (in the picture of the red birdhouse it is growing up the pole and soon will bloom and I will take another pic, the hyacinth bean is VERY late this year due to rabbit damage but when it blooms I will post it as well). Once I get the garden going in the spring, I want constant interest and color until early November, then I will be deathly sick of it all and grateful for the frost and a nap, but until then I will tolerate no lapses in color and drama ….from the plants I mean, my drama extends year round ;)

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Bill is mad…..

Even though I think I try really hard to keep my obsessions from impacting my marriage, sometimes my “enthusiasm”  causes me to send Bill right over the edge.

I think this time it all started with the fact that I always pick the absolute hottest part of the summer to undertake huge garden renovations for which I sometimes require additional manual labor , namely Bill. He does not want to be my garden chore boy anymore but since we can’t afford staff, and the boys are gone, he is  all I have.

The garden projects this time were

a. Some very large willow bushes I had planted for privacy years ago have to be taken out. The willows are the very definition  labor intensive. They drop their leaves in drought , then grow new ones, so during the course of a year I could rake over there 3 or more times. Their branches are also the first to go in wind, snow, ice, or even if you  just look at them wrong. Grrrr….then I have to prune and clean up the garden they shed all over. Near the back of our property the white pines and maples have finally filled in enough that the willows there can go. The other trees will certainly benefit from the extra water they will have with the willow gone, and should fill in quite nicely. So Bill got the chainsaw, and in a scene I will not even describe we cut down 10 towering willows. ( Death only brushed against Bill by way of  crushing  once and threat to chainsawing off leg twice, not bad. We didn’t even manage to take out the street light or the neighbors children who came to watch the destruction)

Now there is a HUGE hole  leading right to the street and any one who drives or walks by can see the whole back yard and we can see the road again.  Patience is the key here and Bill has none.It will be a while before it fills in and he does not want the neighbors watching him bunny hunt in his PJ’s.

b. the second project was taking out a (again) very large red osier dogwood that has a “thing” ( I will insist to my grave that it caught black spot from the climbing rose that grew through it, but black spot is rose specific so that is not supposed to be true. If it is not black spot then it is just a “thing” because it fits no other disease description I can find). I cut it all down and Bill helped chain saw out the stump , but it left such a depressing gap in my garden. You can see before and after pics below. Bill said it robbed the garden of a great deal of it’s ambiance, and for once I agree with him. I planted a weeping alaskan cedar in it’s place, and Bill commanded it to get growing last night .

before (in fall)

after

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We started to cut up the debris piles for burning and chipping, then decided wouldn’t it be better to just call someone? In some sort of karmic twist, the arborist I hired 3 months ago to cable a birch and prune a pine tree showed up yesterday to actually prune the pines that belong to our neighbor right on the property line. I asked if  we could add “remove debris” to our list and he will also trim some of the willow stumps lower for us too. Hurray.

Then the arborist went off to tackle the neighbor’s pines, and lo and behold, he cut them down sooo much that we can now see THAT neighbor’s yard and lost some shade.

When he comes today I am to direct him NOT to touch the pine on our property, Bill would rather have it take over the garden than loose any more privacy.

Last night after all this trauma, when Bill came to bed,  in my twisted form of pillow talk I said, “Hey I was thinking of  moving the whole rock wall in the front of the house out about 3-4 feet to accomadate another cedar I bought that will shade the front of the house, what do you think?”

Did  you hear him from your house? I’ll bet you did!!!  I had to listen to an angry and extremely loud (especially for pillow talk) tirade full of all sorts of bad language and admonishments NOT TO TAKE ON ANY MORE GARDEN PROJECTS! etc etc.

I humbly took my pillow and went to sleep in David’s room. He is right and I hate to admit when I am wrong so fleeing seemed like the best option.

All is right in the world this morning, so while he is gone to work I will be pulling out the rock wall :)

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What the…..?

Often I stand confused in the garden. I tend to garden in “fits” , crazy behavior of planting, transplanting, moving or installing paths,and  ripping out shrubbery all in a haphazzard unplanned fashion and at completely inappropriate times.Then I forget what I planted or moved and have a little ‘moment” staring at a plant I have no idea what it is or an empty hole where one has gone missing.

But I will tell you emphatically, I did not plant this

what the *&#* is this?

a.) It is blooming in the Pink Garden, all plants in that garden bloom either pink or white. That’s it…pink..or white.

b.) Daylilies generally have more defined  eyezones (see the petal that has no indication of one?) and are usually more subtely bi-colored , very impressionist looking in their mottling. But, puh-leez, this is wacky .

I  am chalking up the mis-placement to a small confusion when I was dividing last fall. The coloration is another story altogether. I could be drought affecting the bloom. In the pink garden I have plants that bloom early when rain is usually ample, but they need to be cut back right when they are done so that they do not block the sprinklers that reach the garden later in the season. Before we went away on vacation I never got around to that chore so the plants in that bed got no water from me, and no help from god either so they were very stressed when I got home. Maybe this guy went a little crazy with the heat and thirst.

 It could also be viral. Mosaic plant viruses are responsible for many variations in coloring including varieagated foliage and the  wild bloom variations in tulips affected with the tulip breaking  potyvirus.It could also be something I have not even thought of,  or even know of.

 I guess I will know if the day lily weakens and dies (virus) or pulls through(drought) or someone else sheds some light on the subject.

For now I must resist the temptaion to pull his ugly a** out of my pink garden for to do so now would mean certain death for him(I use the male pronoun because it is icky looking, if the mutation was lovely I would use  the female…perfect logic!).

I am curious to see what will happen. There is currently only one scape and only one flower has bloomed. His fate is out of my hands, time will tell if he gets a new home  or goes in the trash. (never compost anything diseased).

This week there are so many things on my To Do list I am struggling to manage my time. Now that I have decided some tall shrubs need to go , I can’t wait to get it done, and there is a hydrangea I want to prune into a tree,  I want to plant day lilies along the edge of the street, the chipping pile is HUGE, and on and on and on it goes. Today the indentured servant (CJ) will be pressed into service and over the weekend hopefully Bill too, and by Monday I will feel better about the state of the yard even with the ugly red day lilies messing up my pink garden.

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and the garden keeps on keepin’ on

The great thing about an established garden is that despite all the critter troubles, a brutal heat wave and accompanying drought, and most importantly  my ineptitude and impatience when it comes to  optimal planting and growing conditions, the garden keeps on keepin’ on.

Day Lily blooms take center stage, bunnies apparantly don’t like them

There are also many clematis, here is Ernest Markham

and also bee balm liatris, garden phlox, coreopsis,trumpet vines,coneflowers,roses,rudbekia,verbena ( a new perennial one called ‘annie’) , veronica,astllbe, hydrangeas including this h. paniculata ‘limelight’ 

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I do not under any circumstances want you to believe for even one second that I am content and whistling a happy tune…that goes against my nature. So here is a photo of the empty spot where there should be Asiatic lilies in full bloom for all to enjoy ….stupid rabbits!

Following that is a clematis  viticella ‘betty corning’ that is growing like jack and the beanstalk up the roof of the ceiling of the porch with nary a blossom in sight. See I can still be crabby. Under “what’s blooming July 12th ” you can see other photos of the garden in July IF  I can get the software to work, it has been defying me for an hour now, but I will try again just to prove I can win.      Cheryl

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How about a little orange in the garden?

 

You know what I like best about my garden in July? It is the time it most reflects my personality. In the explosion of colors you will see no modesty, no shyness or subtlety, and no apologies for it either. You may even think it garish or borderline tacky.It is brazen , in your face loud and no to be overlooked (but with class like me :) )

Beyond the fence now blooms the ubiquitous orange day lily. Brace yourself for the next sentence. I paid for them. Yessirree I did. I scoured around for different cultivars of this roadside freebie plant so I can have them in bloom from July throughout August and into September some years then parted with cool green cash to get them.Some are single, some double, some ruffled, and they all play a big part in the look of the” back 40″.

I think I like them so much because they are commonplace and predicatable and can be weedy and most  gardeners would not waste one minute even thinking of planting them in the garden. Planting them  is sort of a tongue in cheek jab at those who will not utilize the pedestrian or ordinary in their space  for only the reason that it is just that, pedestrian and ordinary. I am nothing if not a nudge and a gadfly to those who take themselves too seriously. Almost any plant no matter how common can be used to improve a space if done right.  

My orange day lilies do not exist alone, the are joined by about 10 other varieties of day lily in other colors giving such a bright profusion of blooms you can’t take your eyes off them. This year I added purple  ( Bela Lugosi, Regal Warrior and Super Purple) and only a few are blooming now, but next year watch out ….we are headed into Lady Ga Ga tackiness! It will be perfect!!!

a short FYI,

depending on cultivar and your state hemerocalis fulva

may be considered weed, a wildflower, or an invasive species banned for cultivation

do your homework before planting. Hybrids (the doubles, ruffles etc) areusually sterile

and pose less of a threat

I have also heard they will crowd out other day lily cultivars but in the 10 years they have been here they have peacefully co-existed with not only other day lilies but also with the  phlox, clematis, climbing roses, and coreopsis that share their small space.

Cheryl

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be very very quiet…….

we're huntin' wrabbits

Call it karma, call it payback, call it eye for an eye, whatever you want to. You can even say I deserved it for my zeal in rabbit population culling…… but ouch.

Out in the back 40 today I was weeding and deadheading to get ready for an upcoming garden tour. Happy as a clam I was lost in my own world until Faithio came back to say hey and see what was up. She spied a huge honkin rabbit and pointed it out to me, none too quietly might I add. Rabbit just stared back at us and continued eating. Grrrr.I told Faith to hang out and watch it’s every move while I went to get Bill’s pellet gun which I am just learning to shoot. ( I was kinda hoping to go to the grave having never used a gun of any kind but my gun virginity is now gone , oh well)

So I came back  , noisily loaded the pellet into the barrel while the rabbit just chewed away 2 ft away from me. I aimed and took a shot, and missed. The rabbit did not flinch at all. I re-loaded and shot again, missed, bunny still sitting there just looking at me.

I decided to use the sight thingy which is no mean feat since god did not give me the ability to close one eye while the other stays open so I have to hold one shut with my hand  to look through any one-eyed apparatus. Now using my left hand to hold my left eye shut, my right eye looking through the sight, and my right hand trying to hold and steady the very heavy and awkward rifle (don’t get me going on why in gods name it is a rifle and not a small handgun) I take a half blind unbalance shot at the bunny and this time the re-coil of the gun hits me full on in the forehead knocking me back and giving me a huge egg in between my eyes. Great. I am seeing stars as they float around the bunny that is STILL SITTING THERE!  ARRRRGGGHHH!!! I had to take a little lie-down with some ice for a while.

 Bill is now a pro, a sharpshooter, a marksman. he can re-load speedily and never hits himself. Unfortunately when he gets home at night and we head out to rabbit hunt there are never any bunnies. I guess word travels fast when the time is to make yourself scarce in the garden. So now he wants to shoot robins and such. No No No silly Bill. I must walk you off the path to redneckdom.

Faith is calling me Daffy Duck, amused at my bump and ineptitude and bad language. Although she says she is concerned about my bump, she just  keeps laughing at me…….deee-spicable!

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